Ex-Water Boss Charged with Bribery

A former Chicago city water official was arrested Thursday and accused of using contracts to "line his pockets with bribes" as prosecutors continued their investigation of a corruption-plagued municipal truck program.

Donald S. Tomczak, 69, became the sixth person charged in the investigation of the $38 million-a-year program under which the city outsources it hauling jobs to private trucking companies without competitive bidding.

Prosecutors said Tomczak, Chicago's former first deputy water commissioner, doled out trucking jobs in return for payoffs, gift certificates and campaign money.

"For more than a decade, Donald Tomczak was effectively running the water department and giving out city contracts to line his pockets with bribes," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald told a news conference.

Tomczak was arrested Thursday morning at his home near Joliet, Ill. He appeared briefly before a federal magistrate who ordered him released on $25,000 bond.

The scandal came to light early this year when the Chicago Sun-Times reported that some of the owners of the trucking companies had political connections at City Hall, some were tied to organized crime, and in some cases little or no work was done.

After the former head of the program was charged with attempted extortion in January, Mayor Richard M. Daley told reporters that the program was being reformed.


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